Saturday, February 25, 2012

Making Every Penny Count


Winter Fundraiser 2012, Day Six

We began our quarterly fundraisers out of financial necessity about three years ago. It was a scary prospect, jumping into the void like that — how could we possibly raise enough cash through blogging to get by on? Yet there were no other easily available alternatives, since Dymphna’s medical condition requires that I remain close to home.

Rather than take on a new ad provider and fight for the traffic necessary to bring in the per-page-impression revenue, we polled our readers and followed their preference instead: we asked those who find our work worthwhile to contribute as the spirit moved them, and in return we would post no ads at our site. Since then, with our readers’ permission, we have added a modest Amazon book ad for one of our friends and allies. But that’s it.

The response from readers was — and still is — an inspiration. How is it that so many people are willing to contribute money to people they don’t know, just to help keep a website going? Yet they do — we have eked out a living so far, helped along by a bit of book editing on my part, and more recently some new programming gigs.

The process reminds me of a fantasy I entertained when I was teenager. I was looking ahead to adulthood, and the prospect of holding a regular job did not appeal to me. Humdrum, boring, tedious — who wants to work for a living?

Tip jarSuppose I could offer some product or service that every American wanted, and would be willing to pay a penny for. Why, I’d be a millionaire! If it was something really desirable, people might be willing to pay a dime apiece, and then I’d be fabulously rich.

All I had to do was think of something that everyone wanted, arrange to produce it, and then collect a penny or a nickel or a dime for it. What could be simpler?

Try as I might, however, I couldn’t come up with any ideas, and instead I had to enter the humdrum workaday world like everyone else. Until, that is, I decided to give up most of my income and become an artist instead…

There’s no doubt that some people manage to accomplish something similar to what my teenage self dreamed of. Take Martha Stewart, for example. She thought of something — a lot of somethings — that millions of Americans wanted, promoted her products shrewdly, and made a fortune.

Let’s hear it for self-promotion, branding, and careful marketing! Not something I can do, unfortunately, but a skill to be admired in others.

Strangely enough, though, something similar has worked itself out here at Gates of Vienna. Nothing to make anybody rich, but enough to pay the bills and keep the internet connection going, and even send me to Europe occasionally to consult with friends and allies in the Counterjihad.

A widow’s mite from one person, a modest amount from another, a subscription from a third — the pennies are there, and they add up. Every penny counts.

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As you have probably gathered from the increased frequency and length of my posts over the last week or so, my programming contract is now winding down. The future may open up other opportunities, but for the time being we are tap-tapping on the tip jar again.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped keep the old jalopy going. Your generosity flowed in yesterday from the following places:

Stateside: Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Texas, and Virginia

Near Abroad: Canada

Far Abroad: Australia, Israel, Luxembourg, Slovenia, and the UK

I think that may be the first ever donation from Slovenia. What new locales will pop up tomorrow?

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup on our sidebar, or the donate button. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.


Anonymous said...

Luckily for me I was graced with the inventor's gift, but unfortunately with timing and sense that can only be called "most assuredly cursed by The Almighty". I invented the electronic book -- that was my idea -- but then I googled it and found that Sony had already been working on it for ten years. Oh, and cars that run on cow flatulence -- that one was mine too, but we are now in the heyday of namby-pamby animal rights activism who would say a cow atop a car was "inhumane". I was the first person to make jalapeno mango peanut butter, but I didn't pursue a patent. In retrospect, I should have. Later I found out it's all the rage in the Faroe Islands and that it's like their crack cocaine. RoR